We are two weeks into the new year, and we already have a “National ________ Day!” on the horizon. January 14th is “National Organize-Your-Home Day,” and I am here to help you get in the festive mood! We mentioned the mental health benefits of having a clean living space in our last blog, but I would like to take it a step further and give some tips and tricks to help you declutter! Living in clutter makes your mind feel cluttered. So, it is time to start taking those steps you have been putting off! The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get into the organizing mood. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start, so let this be your guide! We are going to help you get and STAY organized! STEP 1: Walk Through Your Home With Fresh Eyes: Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought suddenly, “Oh my gosh, I need a haircut! When did my hair get this long?” This phenomenon happens when something you encounter or look at everyday goes through small changes. Because the changes are so small, they do not alert you the same way that you would be alerted by someone dying your hair in your sleep. This can happen with the clutter in your home too. It may start with just a coat getting thrown over the banister instead of being put in a closet after a hard day, or letting your shoes pile up by the door instead of putting them away. These small instances of clutter can add up quick, and soon, you will feel like you are drowning in disorder. A great way to see just how cluttered your home may, or may not be, is to look at your home through a fresh set of eyes. Start at your front door, and walk through the home as if you were a guest visiting your home for the first time. What are some things that stick out to you? Maybe even keep a list on a pad of paper. This will allow you to tailor your tidying, not just to your own personal preferences, but to what your guests see as well! You may even find a project or two that you didn’t even realize you needed to do. To maintain your organization and cleanliness, try to do this process once a month and after holiday décor cleanup! STEP 2: Gut the Place! It is hard to think about tidying up without thinking about Marie Kondo. In her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up,” Marie coins her world-famous line “Sparks Joy.” The sentiment described in the book is the way that you decide what needs to be kept, and what needs to go. This is an excellent method to use at the start of your cleaning. What things in your home are taking up useful space? Go through your home with a trashbag, or 5, and determine what your home does, and doesn’t, need. Clear out the clutter! This is the best place to start, since you don’t want to waste time moving around things that don’t need to take up space. To keep up with your tidying, I recommend doing this every 6months, to a year! STEP 3: Everything in Its Place Everything must have a place. If it is going to stay, you should have a designated space for it to stay when you are not in use. The “Junk Drawer” mindset is easy to fall into, but organization at its core, requires knowing where items are at any given time. According to a study that IKEA reported on, 48% of all humans lose an item once a week. Those hours add up! The same study showed that the average amount of time we spend in a lifetime looking for missing items is almost 5,000 hours—that’s 6.5 months of our lives! It's time to differentiate yourself from the “Average” human. Something that may be missing, are containers. Drawer organizers, clothing shelves, kitchen cabinets organizers, containers for your dry goods or vanity items may help you allocate places for all of your belongings. Taking the guess work out of locating items will save you stress, energy, and the most important currency that you own—TIME. Evaluate areas that may need some extra TLC. Come up with a gameplan—this should highlight organization AND functionality. You may need to get some containers, dividers, or organizers to get the job done! To stay organized, use this in tandem with step 4! Step 4: Create and USE Systems The BIGGEST key to staying organized is using systems. You want to make all of your organization functional and easy, so that you are more likely to use the new systems. A system is a designated action, or set of actions, that you will use to ensure that you waste no time on looking for your things, or creating unnecessary clutter. This can be as something as simple as putting a key bowl next to your door, that everyone puts their keys in when they come home. They can also be more involved, like having a space designated for coffee items—such as coffee pods, creamers, and syrups, so you can restock stock them easily and have them all located near eachother for a quicker coffee-making experience in the morning. My favorite system that I have personally implemented in my own everyday life is holding myself to a “closing shift” at the end of each day. I get into the same mindset I had when I was working in a restaurant—reset the entire area, and make sure that you set yourself up to have an easy morning. Put the blankets away, run the dishwasher, wipe the countertops, put the coats on the rack; reset everything as if someone else will come behind you in the morning for an opening shift. Having systems will make your life so much easier, and can even have other effects such as boosting your mood, improvement in your punctuality, and more ease in your ability to relax! To stay organized, make sure to use your systems daily. Don’t limit your organization to one day a year—make it a lifestyle! It will take practice and discipline, but it will most assuredly be worth it. I challenge you to add a new resolution to your list this year if you have not already—rid yourself of the burden of clutter!

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Start Your New Year With Some Self-Care!

Neglecting ourselves and our mental health is something that we are leaving in the year 2022! Especially with the holidays wrapping up, you deserve to take some time for yourself in the new year. In the throws of the holiday season, sometimes it is hard to slow down and spend that time focusing on your physical and mental health, but you can not water anyone else’s grass with an empty well. The same way that we are instructed to “Put the mask on yourself before assisting others” during an airline flight emergency, we need to always remember that recharging our batteries is a NEED, not just a want. Self-Care doesn’t have to be lavish and time-consuming. It only needs to be intentional and fulfilling. Yes, a spa day or a vacation are a FANTASTIC way to practice self-care, but we should not limit relaxation and peace to a few times a year, or month. There are plenty of ways to recharge on a day-to-day basis. What are the things that bring you joy, that put you at the center of focus? What are your hobbies? What are some meals that you love, but you don’t get to enjoy as much as you would like? What is an activity around the house that you really like doing? What are some local places you have been wanting to check out, but have not yet? In the last few years, I have been really focused on getting rid of the guilt and the feeling of sacrifice that can be associated with spending my time and energy on me, and I am here to help you do the same! STEP ONE: Romanticize Your Life I know this sounds silly, but think about yourself as the main character of your life’s story! Invest your interest in rooting for yourself! Have you ever felt connected to a character in a television show, or a book, that you find yourself crossing your fingers for their good fortune? It is time to look at yourself the same way! Become your own cheerleader! Start looking at even the little mundane tasks that you do in your day-to-day life, and thinking “How could I make myself feel like a superstar doing this?” Sometimes it is as simple as drinking your orange juice out of a fancy glass in the morning, getting your car detailed so that you feel like you’re driving around a brand new car while running errands, or adding a few drops of essential oils in the shower to make it feel more like a spa. Take a moment to think about ways that you could possibly elevate your daily routine in a way that makes you feel like a celebrity! A study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that “Even 20 minutes a week of household cleaning reduces feelings of stress and reduces the risk of psychological difficulties.” There is a pressure that we can subconsciously put on ourselves when we are surrounded by clutter. Your environment can often feel like a reflection of your life, and when it is messy, it can cause an anxiety. Whether it is doing a load of laundry, finishing the dishes, making your bed, or wiping down the countertops, cleaning projects (small or large) can have an extremely positive effect on your mood! Being in a clean space, makes it easier to relax, since your mind will not wander to the list in your head of things that you still need to get done. If you are interested in learning more about how to organize your space, do not forget to keep up with our blog, and keep an eye out for our blog post about organizing your space! Most importantly, don’t forget to implement Step 1 during the cleaning process. Light a candle, put on your favorite music or television show in the background, and remind yourself as you are cleaning, that you are not doing it as a chore—you are doing it for YOURSELF! STEP 3: Find and Do a Hobby That Makes You Happy Do you have a hobby that you wish you had more time for? Do you have an interest in a hobby that you would like to explore, if you had more time? It is time to make time! Whether you love to read, quilt, scrapbook, play or listen to music, garden, work out, catch up on the latest episodes of your favorite television show, take your dog to the dog park, or whatever else it is that you love to do/have been itching to do, carve out the space in your schedule to do those things! Make it an event for yourself. Put in your headphones, sip on your favorite drink, and do those things that make you happy! STEP 4: Get Outside The fresh air and sunshine can be absolutely mood-stabilizing. Even taking a few minutes out of the day to walk down the street and back can influence your mood. If you are struggling to fit time outside into your schedule, try to incorporate being outside into an activity that you are already planning on doing. Take that long phone call with the bank outside while you take a walk, take your laptop onto the front porch or back deck if you need to do something on the computer, eat your lunch outside. Any way that you can add even TEN minutes of outside time to your day, is a win! STEP 5: Treat Yourself While most of these suggestions are small ways to practice self-care, I would still like to challenge you to take 2 days out of this year and have a “ME DAY.” On this day you will schedule a massage or hair appointment. Or maybe, you will take a day trip to a museum or aquarium that you have been wanting to visit. Perhaps, you spend this day shopping around for a couple of things that you WANT but might not necessarily NEED. Use those holiday giftcards, and call in that babysitting offer from your parents, and do something you and your spouse have been wanting to do for date night. YOU DESERVE IT!

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